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, regardless of culture, country, gender, race, or even religion, certain mathematical principles remain true. for example, 100 can always be reduced to its basic building blocks of 2's and 5's no matter what language it is that we speak every day. mathematics is indeed a language common to all of us on planet earth, and the most fundamental letters of its alphabet are called "the primes." these numbers have the very unique quality of being divisible by only themselves and one. they can't be factored any further, and as a result, they're often called the "atoms of arithmetic." prime numbers are so fundamental and mysterious that they've intrigued human mathematicians for thousands of years. are they so fundamental that other intelligent beings in the universe might know about them, too? in the 1960s, seti suggested that if there are other intelligent beings out there, they might share the language of mathematics with us. seti relied on the idea that math is so fundamental to how we describe the physical universe that other beings might see the universe through the same lens. and if we shared
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